Statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades24 July, 2016
It's my pleasure to welcome once again the President of Cyprus, my good friend Nicos. It's wonderful to see you again with your delegation in Jerusalem.
Cyprus and Israel are two small democracies in the eastern Mediterranean.We also share common challenges, and also common opportunities: in security cooperation, in gas, in emergency cooperation, commerce, tourism, many, many fields.
I will never forget that in 2010, when we faced a ferocious forest fire in the Carmel Forest, the first country I called was Cyprus. It offered to send a plane. It did send it, and I was privileged to reciprocate last month when you faced a ferocious forest fire, and we sent our planes to extinguish your flames. Back in April, our two nations, along with Greece, conducted a joint fire-fighting exercise to enhance our regional cooperation in emergency situations.
And that's exactly the kind of thing that friends do. They come to each other's help in times of need, but also cooperate in good times or cooperate to make times better. And that's why I'm particularly proud to have this opportunity to continue the dialogue we began on a tripartite basis in the Nicosia summit. We're continuing those discussions, both bilaterally but also multilaterally, and we continue to send our people.
But of course we know, as leaders, that there's no substitute for the meeting of the people at the top, so in this spirit, I welcome you once again.
President Nicos Anastasiades:
Thank you very much, my dear friend, Prime Minister. It is a pleasure to be back in Jerusalem and to have an opportunity to discuss with you many of the important developments that have taken place in the past few months.
But before I say anything else, I want to express to you and to the people and Government of the State of Israel personally my gratitude and the gratitude of all Cypriots for the indispensable assistance which you offered recently during the terrible forest fires in Cyprus. I also want to especially thank the professional men and women who came to our aid – the pilots, the ground crew, the support staff and their officers, who so quickly went on alert, flew to Cyprus and helped us in our time of need.
In the sadness of natural disasters, I have to point out something that gave me hope for the future: The fact that the level of mutual cooperation between Cyprus and Israel has reached the point where reaction is so swift and smooth. We know that we can rely on each other, and this is the result of a lot of work that we have been doing together during the past few years in bringing our countries closer.
We are reliable partners that see eye to eye on a wide agenda of issues, reaching from energy to security to a very sincere, open and frank political dialogue. We have been tightening our areas of cooperation, from tourism to education and business, sharpening our joint training, and through continuous coordination have been forming a common language.
This common language enables us to stand by each other in these very challenging times, as we are faced with so many attacks against our common rights. This is true in our immediate region, but also in many parts of the world.
These frequent meetings – this is actually our fifth meeting in a year – our regular talks on the telephone (it's another way of communication) and our transparency are essential for our partnership of strategic choice and important in understanding each other's needs as peoples and states.
I cannot but highlight that last week almost 80 flights took place between Israel and Cyprus. In one week, 80 flights, and today's it was the 81st flying to Israel.
In this spirit, I look forward to our meeting today to discuss how to enhance more our bilateral relations in the fields of energy, security, economy and trade, to exchange views on the regional developments, to brief you on the negotiations about the Cyprus problem, and of course to prepare for the next trilateral meeting later this year with our Greek colleague here in Jerusalem, in order to continue the work which we started in Nicosia last January.
Once again, thank you my dearest friend for hosting us in Jerusalem and I look forward to our conversation on the many important subjects that are of mutual concern. Once again, thank you.